Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Archaeologists find huge stash of Bronze Age anchors

By Joe Lewis - Cyprus Mail

CYPRUS’ reputation as an archeological gold mine has been given another boost, with an important underwater Bronze Age discovery.

A team of maritime archeologists from the UK has uncovered 120 stone anchors off the coast of Paphos. The anchors, some of which date back to the Bronze Age (2500-1125BC), are the second largest collection in the eastern Mediterranean.

The fact that so many anchors have been found at the same site suggests that the area may have once been an important port, serving the maritime traders on the busy trade routes to and from the east. There have also been suggestions that the port may have been used to transport pilgrims to and from Palaipaphos and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, from all around the Mediterranean world.

The peaceful conditions that prevailed during the late Bronze Age allowed trade in the eastern Mediterranean to flourish, and Cyprus, with its ideal geographical location, became a trade hub, linking east and west.

The exact chronology of the anchors has not yet been determined, but the archaeologists are fairly sure that some date back to the Bronze Age.

The team has been working to survey the area with the aim of creating the first digital archive of an underwater site in Cyprus. The information from the survey is currently being processed at Cambridge University, and will soon be available for analysis.

There are plans to conduct further investigation of the site next year, when the team hopes to throw more light on this fascinating part of Cyprus’s rich history.

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